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Baumgarten: Happy endings are possible

Believe it or not, I don’t enjoy the stories that are all gloom and doom.

As exciting as they are, and as much as I love to form them for others to read, I can’t say that their content makes me happy.

I’m talking about the stories that everyone reads for shock value, such as when the Dickinson State University professor committed suicide or when I wrote about the principal accused of sexual misconduct. Though I take pride in the fact that I can present the facts of a story to the people, no one hopes these things happen to others.

We even cringe when we read about the horrible events that unravel around the world. Whether it be the execution of a journalist in the Middle East or the shooting of an African-American by police, it doesn’t matter. Reporters, though we may seem like robots, do feel something. We just feel like we can’t show it so we want to appear unbiased.

I can’t speak for every journalist, but there are times we need a relief from Armageddon. This assistant editor found it in music.

In the past couple of weeks I had the opportunity to talk with some of North Dakota’s biggest stars: Hebron country singer Gwen Sebastian, Hazen’s Kendra and Krista Slaubaugh — a.k.a. Tigirily — and Scranton rocker Kat Perkins. These women came from towns with less than 3,000 people, yet they somehow managed to gain fame on some level.

Maybe I am a little biased toward them, but I still want to give credit where it is due. The four ladies worked hard to get to where they are. Kendra and Krista are at a show every weekend in the summer — sometimes multiple in one week. Even though Gwen didn’t make it very far on “The Voice,” she kept pushing to make her albums. Kat, though she faced elimination three times, never gave up and sang her heart out.

And still they were humble about it. They have always thanked their fans, saying they could never have become what they were without them. That’s the reason why Gwen came to Dickinson on such short notice, why Kat came to Medora for her first shows, why Tigirlily performs before thousands of people or just for a handful at county fairs. They want to give back to the people that made them so successful.

What is possibly the most amazing part of the cycle of helping each other and the younger generation is how they have inspired others. They did what they love, chased it like there was no tomorrow and have been role models for everyone, not only in the music industry but anyone that wants to follow their dreams.

“‘Dream it. Do it,’ has always been my motto for a long time and it really came true this year,” Kat told me before her concert on Friday. “You just need to step outside the box and just be different.”

It’s stories like these that give people hope, despite all the horrors in the world. When the bullets are raining down, there is always that little bit of cover that we see in the people around us. It gives us the motivation we need to not stay down when we have fallen. It brings a smile to our faces as we stare into the face of fear. People like Gwen, Kendra, Krista and Kat can help us be “Fearless,” and even if we have a “Small Town Soul,” we can still reach out and grasp “Victory” if we only give it our all.

And even if it is only for a little bit, it’s a nice relief from all those sad stories. After all, who doesn’t like a happy ending?

Baumgarten is the assistant editor of The Dickinson Press. Email her at Like her on Facebook at Follow her at

April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, as the news editor. She works with a team of talented journalists and editors, who strive to give the Grand Forks area the quality news readers deserve to know. Baumgarten grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college,  she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.